Conflict habituation

Duration: 2 – 4 months

Participants: should be limited to a well-defined team to make exercises most efficient

Target audience: Cross-functional teams, leadership teams, departments, etc

Format: Newsletter and a practical exercise issued every 2 weeks. Ends with evaluation and documentation. Can be kicked off with the mini-training in Conflict Management, but can also be carried out independently

Purpose: to build increasing levels of confidence in dealing with conflict, through habituation using practical exercises.


Conflicts are not necessarily something to solve, they can be an integrated part of an organization: eg in a cross-functional team. But disagreement can be hard to deal with at the personal level. The discomfort from engaging in conflict can be so great, that we shy away from conflict instead. To preserve the ”nice atmosphere”. Or to ”spare” the person involved in the conflict.

In the practical work with psychological safety, habituation to this interpersonal discomfort has a prominent place. Growing up we were taught to remain silent if we had nothing nice to say; many adults find conflicts unfriendly or rude, and many teams carry a large conflict-debt.

In modern working life everyone is expected to contribute their full talent and all relevant skills. Any workplace depends on teamwork. Enduring the awkward is a precondition to say no, ask questions and make open assumptions. As such, dealing with conflict becomes a precondition for psychological safety, a well-documented precondition to innovation and creativity.

In a psychologically safe culture people (employees and leaders alike) feels safe to not be ridiculed or denigrated when they propose ideas, suggestions, ask questions or points to mistakes.

This capability can be learned and trained.

The content of this training gives the team a written message every two weeks, with new knowledge about conflicts and psychological safety, and a voluntary exercise. The difficulty is increased over the weeks of training, as an example the first exercise is: ”Question the foundation for a decision presented to you”